Desert elephants in the Ugab River
Our next destination was Brandberg White Lady Lodge. The name refers to a drawing in the rock of the Brandberg, which was discovered by a German in 1918. We were not attracted to the lodge because of this – the campsite borders directly on the riverbed of the Ugab River. The Ugab is one of the rivers where a population of desert elephants exists.
These elephants are not a separate subspecies, but they have already adapted very well to their environment. Their feet are wider, so they can walk better in the sand. Their physique is altogether more delicate, they are smaller than their fellow species, and they can go twice as long – two days – without any water.
Meeting the elephants
It is no secret that we are crazy about elephants. On the day of our arrival we drove into the riverbed and made a drive to find the elephants. We covered a distance of about 35 km and then gave up because the day came to an end.
The next morning we joined some Austrians and made a game drive together with a local. We found a smaller group of elephants about 1 km from where we left the previous evening.
An ominous sound
Happy about the great encounter, we headed for an unscheduled stop in Omaruru (about 120 km away). Our car was making a loud noise in the front axle area, and we wanted to check it out before we headed to Kaokoveld.
Omaruru was the next bigger town where a workshop was located and besides, our car was known by this workshop because they had serviced the car for several years.
The cause for the noise could finally be figured out after intensive efforts: A bushing was no longer centered due to the installed suspension and its height adjustment and caused the noise. It can be annoying, but has no mechanical effects.
(Added after our return: The above assumptions were all wrong. The problem was fixed in Maun and had nothing to do with the suspension or the front axle).
Since we were already there, we directly had an oil change done – we had actually already driven 5’000 km. In addition, the transfer case was sweating on a seal. We also had this replaced and bought new gearbox oil. Thus equipped, our adventure could be continued with a further day’s delay.
Our way led us back to the region of the desert elephants – we drove to Madisa.